Before his career as an elected official, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) hosted both a radio and television show in the 1990s, with the name, “The Mike Pence Show.” While his commentaries from that time in defense of cigarettes and in opposition to the feminist message in Disney’s Mulan have made news, one less noticed piece suggested that adultery should be a crime in the United States. It appeared on the website for his television show on WNDY, retrieved through the Internet Archive WayBack Machine.
In May of 1997, Pence railed against the news that U.S. Air Force Lt. Kelly Flynn had received a general dischrage despite having been accused of two adulterous affairs. While Pence said he was glad she had received compassion, he took aim at society for making extramarital affairs acceptable. “Did anyone else notice the incredulous looks on the faces of Lt. Flynn’s most ardent defenders anytime the term ‘adultery’ was mentioned? Many of her defenders were less concerned, it seemed, about the facts of the case than about the fact that somewhere in this society adultery is still a crime.”
“I think it’s time for the media and our leaders to get real and start telling the truth about the impact of adultery on our national life,” he continued. “What is real is that adultery destroys tens of thousands of families of every year across America. What is real is that adultery scars tens of thousands of children emotionally and psychologically every year. What is real is that adultery is an open wound in a relationship which more often than not overflows into domestic violence or worse. It is time to ‘get real’ and put to the lie the popular culture’s no-cost approach to extramarital sex.”
In another commentary, he accused President Bill Clinton of “adultery plain and simple,” while warning that a civil suit against him would be the “perfect vehicle for those in the mainstream liberal press to deal a final blow to old fashioned morality in America.”
Pence made a similar point in a video commentary from that week, posted Saturday by Politico. “I’m interested in continuing our conversation about the discomfiture I picked up in the mainstream media with one particular element of this debate. It was this discomfort with a law against adultery,” he told his audience. “Does that trouble anybody else?” he asked, noting his belief that the Seventh Commandment is “still a big deal.”
“And holding people accountable to those promises and holding people accountable to respecting the promises that other people make. To me, what could possibly be a bigger deal that that in this country?”
Pence’s views on adultery could create some tension with his running mate, Donald Trump, who famously cheated on his first wife. Asked about those indiscretions in December, Trump agreed that they were fair game for the 2016 campaign.